Apple tweaks Software Update for Windows following uproar

Posted:
in Mac Software edited January 2014
Apple has made changes to the latest version of its Software Update mechanism for Windows PCs after being lambasted for using the application as a trojan horse to gain an advantage in the battle for share of the web browser market.



The updater application has been installed on millions of PCs as part of iTunes, allowing the Cupertino-based company to push users the latest updates to the digital media application and supporting QuickTime software.



Last month, however, Apple began using Software Update to recommend that Windows users also download and install its fledgling Safari web browser, which the company claims is the "fastest and easiest-to-use web browser for the PC."



The move was met with considerable criticism from industry figures and pundits alike, who accused the iPod maker of crossing an ethical barrier in its attempts to rapidly muscle its way further up the browser charts at the expense Microsoft's Internet Explorer and other third-party Windows browsers, like FireFox.



At issue was the fact that Apple was pushing Safari upon users who had never used or installed a prior version of the browser. As a result, the company has now released a redesigned version of Software Update for Windows PCs, notes ZDNet, that separates updates to applications users have installed on their PCs from new products they have not.



The new version, labeled version 2.1.0.110, also offers users a toggle to turn off automatic software updates, though the box is checked in the "on" position by default. Yet another added feature offers to "ignore" selected updates, such as Safari.



The old version of Software Update for Windows (left) compared to the new version (right).







Nevertheless, Apple continues to ping Windows users of the new application to download and install its browser. And ZDNet further speculates that redesigned interface may foreshadow a move by the company "to shove more software onto Windows users" in the near future.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 51
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    While people will still complain that it's not enough or too little too late, I wonder how many other companies would write a new version of their installer to appease the masses so quickly?
  • Reply 2 of 51
    dunksdunks Posts: 1,240member
    iTunes is in ur windoze...

    ...screwin wif ur files
  • Reply 3 of 51
    Hey, Apple may be pushing ethical boundaries, but Internet Explorer *breaks a lot more ethical boundaries by refusing to properly support standards. Anything that takes browser share away from IE I'm all for.
  • Reply 4 of 51
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Apple has made changes to the latest version of its Software Update mechanism for Windows PCs after being lambasted for using the application as a trojan horse to gain an advantage in the battle for share of the web browser market.



    Cynical much?



    A "trojan horse" doesn't give you an option.



    Apple simply offered users another browser. The user didn't have to download it! They could have unchecked it (see the screenshots above)!
  • Reply 5 of 51
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,755member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DeaPeaJay View Post


    Hey, Apple may be pushing ethical boundaries, but Internet Explorer *breaks a lot more ethical boundaries by refusing to properly support standards. Anything that takes browser share away from IE I'm all for.



    Yeah, I just can't get all that excited about this.



    Seems to be much ado...
  • Reply 6 of 51
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SHatfield View Post


    Cynical much?



    A "trojan horse" doesn't give you an option.



    Apple simply offered users another browser. The user didn't have to download it! They could have unchecked it (see the screenshots above)!



    A trojan horse is an option. You can accept or reject it. I don't think it's a trojan horse. A trojan horse is something that says it's something else entirely in the hopes that a victim accepts it.



    Personally, I wonder if this was just a bug or features to remember deselecting weren't implemented yet. Software Update for Windows is very new.
  • Reply 7 of 51
    Due to the low resolution and my distance from the screen, in the description of Safari in the first image the 'f' looks like a t and the 'ri' blends to look like an n.



    Thus the desciption was:

    "Satan for Windows is the fastest and easiest-to-use browser on the PC." Microsft might agree!
  • Reply 8 of 51
    crees!crees! Posts: 501member
    Quote:

    crossing an ethical barrier in its attempts to rapidly muscle its way further up the browser charts at the expense Microsoft's Internet Explorer and other third-party Windows browsers, like FireFox.



    Oh cry me a river. This comes down to not paying attention. Why don't we just put everyone in a plastic bubble.
  • Reply 9 of 51
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,225member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DeaPeaJay View Post


    Hey, Apple may be pushing ethical boundaries, but Internet Explorer *breaks a lot more ethical boundaries by refusing to properly support standards. Anything that takes browser share away from IE I'm all for.



    Seconded! Worse many sites write to IE's oddities and do not work on standard Browsers.
  • Reply 10 of 51
    bsenkabsenka Posts: 799member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macbookschmo View Post


    Due to the low resolution and my distance from the screen, in the description of Safari in the first image the 'f' looks like a t and the 'ri' blends to look like an n.



    Thus the desciption was:

    "Satan for Windows is the fastest and easiest-to-use browser on the PC." Microsft might agree!



    That's what I read the first time too. I had to squint to see if it was a joke or something.
  • Reply 11 of 51
    This all seems like much ado about nothing. If you don't want safari, just quit the downloader without installing.



    And "trojan horse"? Please.
  • Reply 12 of 51
    Uproar? Maybe whining...



    While I don't agree with that tactic, it is NO different than what ANY software maker does, install Acrobat and Adobe tries to sneak on something else with it.



    From what I've seen though, I would hardly call it an Uproar.
  • Reply 13 of 51
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by roehlstation View Post


    While I don't agree with that tactic, it is NO different than what ANY software maker does, install Acrobat and Adobe tries to sneak on something else with it.



    Isn't it letting them off though? For a company that tries to say they're better, but then, at times, they do some of the same undesirable things that everyone else does, it sounds like people are letting Apple eat their cake twice.
  • Reply 14 of 51
    thecrowthecrow Posts: 11member
    I don't see this as trying "to shove more software onto Windows users" - they are simply offering new, free applications to Windows users that didn't have this choice before. Those millions of Winblows users that use and love iTunes might WANT to try other offerings from Apple. I don't know - people make such a big deal out of little things.
  • Reply 15 of 51
    nceencee Posts: 836member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


    Isn't it letting them off though? For a company that tries to say they're better, but then, at times, they do some of the same undesirable things that everyone else does, it sounds like people are letting Apple eat their cake twice.



    And the "Trojan Horse" that Adobe puts in most of their software, that goes back to THEM, when you launch any of their software ?



    I can deal with a download that asked if I want to try a new browser over the Adobe (and others) feature.



    Now if it downloaded Safari without your permission, and installed it, and launch it, instead of the browser you normally used ? that would pisss me off.



    Skip
  • Reply 16 of 51
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ncee View Post


    And the "Trojan Horse" that Adobe puts in most of their software, that goes back to THEM, when you launch any of their software ?



    I can deal with a download that asked if I want to try a new browser over the Adobe (and others) feature.



    Now if it downloaded Safari without your permission, and installed it, and launch it, instead of the browser you normally used ? that would pisss me off.



    I haven't seen Adobe do anything like that.
  • Reply 17 of 51
    pdiddypdiddy Posts: 27member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


    Isn't it letting them off though? For a company that tries to say they're better, but then, at times, they do some of the same undesirable things that everyone else does, it sounds like people are letting Apple eat their cake twice.



    I've heard Apple try to say their software is better. I've heard them try to say their hardware is better. I've heard them try to say they know what you want better than you do. I've never heard them say they're the bastion of morality that you would like to ascribe to them.



    I find it hard to believe anybody cared about that update. I know a lot of media types jumped all over it because that's how they get paid, but other than that, everyone else thought it was same ol' same ol' and just unchecked the download.



    Was it unethical for them to use their own software to advertise another piece of their own software, or even ask if you want to download it too? Not hardly. You don't have to like it, but if you don't, it doesn't make it unethical.
  • Reply 18 of 51
    nceencee Posts: 836member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


    I haven't seen Adobe do anything like that.



    Whenever I launch PS or Acrobat, (software I have installed) tells me the software is sending a message back to Adobe, do I want this to happen?



    The software that checks this is called 'lil snitch"



    Skip
  • Reply 19 of 51
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pdiddy View Post


    I've heard Apple try to say their software is better. I've heard them try to say their hardware is better. I've heard them try to say they know what you want better than you do. I've never heard them say they're the bastion of morality that you would like to ascribe to them.



    I don't think I really said or implied that.



    If Apple tries to claim they're a better company, even if it's implied in the tone and such, then it's understandable that people set a higher bar.



    I don't think it's necessarily unethical, but I do think it's undesirable.
  • Reply 20 of 51
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,755member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


    I haven't seen Adobe do anything like that.



    The point is that there isn't much concern about Adobe doing about the same thing Apple is now being flogged for. I don't think the other poster was saying that Adobe was doing anything *wrong* or anything.



    Over the years this has come to be seen as accepted practice--to use leverage in one area to push your offferings in another. Most users, it seems to me, accept this as long as the software has some chance of being useful and is not harmful or aggressive. By aggressive I mean changing defaults or self launching or whatnot...



    Apple did not cross that line, so it seems to be doing the same thing that many other software providers (including Adobe) have been doing and not getting flamed for.



    The difference here, I suspect, is that there is large community of people who, after years of being on the "winning" side of the computer culture wars is now on the defensive. Some are taking Apple's advances and encroachment personally...
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